Okay, I am watching the dressage live on the NBC site this morning. I am also pretending to work, but blogging kind of looks like work, right?
I just finished watching Hiroshi Hoketsu's (of Japan) ride. He's kind of my new hero. He is the oldest athlete competing at the Beijing Olympics - at 67. But more importantly he rode in the 1964 Olympics in showjumping and hasn't been back since. That gives me a little hope for my life. But I have been reluctant to write a lot about him because I didn't want it to seem like I thought of him as a novelty. "Ooooh, look the old guy is competing." "Hey, he's not bad for an old guy."
But I just got done watching his performance and he was REALLY good. His horse was more tense than just about anything and they ended up making loads of mistakes because of this. But the entire ride, his horse was listening closely to him, tense but not resistant. Not once was there any tail-swishing. How many pairs can you say that about anymore? There were no yanks or rein-tugging....even when his horse flipped out. He remained soft. And that's something to admire and to want to emulate. It's too easy to grab at the reins when something is going a little wrong (see most other riders) and he rode through the mistakes. I mean, what else can you do? What does tensing up and pulling get you except resistance and an ugly ride? He showed grace, elegance and class. And his horse's brillance showed through in her beautifully expressive piaffe and passage. Her tempo didn't change between the transitions. She just seems awfully hot and couldn't stand the tension in the big arena.
His 62 and change score isn't going to advance him or win any medals, but in my eyes they were my favorite combination so far.